In the aftermath of a traffic accident, your actions or omissions can have a direct impact on your ability to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. Our personal injury lawyers outline 10 common mistakes that accident victims do that adversely affect their claims.
1. Failing to call the police
A car accident is a stressful event and you may wonder, “Should I call the police?” The answer is always “yes!”
It is important to have the facts of the crash documented by the police and to make sure information is exchanged. If, for example, the other driver gives you the wrong information or has no car insurance, you need to know right away. A police report is an important step after a crash.
2. Failing to get medical treatment
There are no prizes for being tough. Following an accident, if you feel pain or numbness anywhere, you should get checked out to make sure there’s nothing wrong. A medical record will document how you felt at that time. It is common for people to feel worse in the days after a car crash, with more pronounced symptoms.
Don’t hesitate to get an exam by a medical professional. It could be critical to catching any big problems down the road.
Some people choose to not get medical treatment. There are many reasons: too busy, too expensive or the pain is tolerable. If you’ve been hurt because of someone else’s failure to follow the rules of the road, it is important to document what happened.
3. Being too polite
Never, ever, apologize if you did not cause an accident. Keep your comments and interactions with the other driver limited. It is fine to ask, “Are you alright?” and exchange insurance information.
Do not make any statements that could be construed to mean that you acknowledge being the cause of the collision.
4. Social media pictures: Appearances can be deceiving
Be very careful what you post online. Social media is a public domain. Following a car accident, it’s always important to be aware of how things may appear to someone who does not know you. A photo of you smiling or going about your life could be construed to mean that your injuries were not serious.
5. Ignoring the claims adjuster
The claims adjuster is not necessarily your friend but they are also not your enemy. Do not ignore the claims adjuster. When you have a lawyer, let them know that your lawyer will be able to talk with the adjuster for you. Get the claim number and the adjuster’s contact information.
6. Giving a recorded statement
Do not give a recorded statement without first consulting an attorney. Your attorney will know what to do in a situation and advise you through the process as to how to deal with an insurance company and whether giving a statement is advisable. (This includes your own insurance company!)
7. Settling the case yourself
Settling your personal injury claim by yourself is a lot like performing surgery on yourself. It might look simple but something will inevitably go wrong.
An insurance adjuster is going to try to give you less compensation than you deserve and there may be outstanding issues with other parties or entities who may be entitled to a portion of the settlement (e.g., Medicare, child support , and other liens). It is best to have an experienced lawyer to represent your interests, evaluate your case and advise you as to your rights.
8. Lawsuit settlement lenders
There are businesses who will lend you money, at extremely high interest rates, on the basis that you’ll pay them back when you settle your case. Always consult an attorney before agreeing to any lawsuit loan.
9. Failing to document your injuries and damages
Take pictures of property damage and of your injuries. Keep a journal of any new symptoms or how your pain and symptoms change over time.
10. Failing to call an attorney
It just takes one phone call, text or email to contact an attorney. Our firm, like nearly all firms, offers a free initial consultation and case evaluation. Seize the opportunity to get professional legal advice after a car accident. You do not pay any fees unless recover compensation on your behalf.
Contact Logan Vance Sullivan & Kores LLP, to help you through this situation.
We are just a click, or a call, away.